Going into this blog post all about how to craft your perfect wedding day timeline, here are a couple things to note:
If you’re a photographer, then this post will be helpful to you when helping your own clients!
If you’re an engaged couple, then, well, this post will be helpful to YOU & your own wedding! (guess that was probably a given. . .)
Your timeline is one of, if not THE most crucial part of planning a smooooth wedding day!! If you’re not sure what exactly a wedding timeline is, it’s a layout or schedule of what’s happening on your wedding day.
It’s not your job to know how to make yours, though. You’ve likely never planned a wedding before, so how in the world are you supposed to know what to do?! It’s usually a collaboration between your planner/coordinator (if you have one) and your photographer!
If you hire a planner or coordinator of any kind, they’ll create a timeline for you based on a few things. These include: when certain vendors are showing up — hair/makeup artists, caterers, etc. — and when the main events are — ceremony, dinner, when you need to be out of the venue by, etc.
From there, you’ll want to have your planner collaborate with your photographer! Your photographer will make changes or create their own timeline to merge with the planner’s. They’ll create theirs based on lighting, what time the sun is setting, and the amount of time needed for certain photos.
And if you’re choosing not to hire a planner or coordinator, don’t fret! Your photographer should help create your timeline with you and make sure you’re all set. (This is one of my favorite parts of helping my couples in the planning process! I’m such a nerd about schedules!! Eee!)
Now, let’s get into my top tips on how to craft your perfect wedding day timeline!
Whether or not you choose to do a first look hugely affects the flow of your wedding day!
I’ll be diving deeper into this topic in another blog post. But for now, here are the basic ways a first look will affect your timeline:
**view a wedding gallery with a first look here!**
**view a wedding gallery without a first look here!**
You and your partner need to decide on the mood of your wedding day!
The best way to decide this is to consider a few different things:
Driving between locations can eat up a ton of time without you even realizing it. Then the big day arrives and suddenly, your photography/videography coverage feels way shorter because of driving time that was previously unaccounted for!
This could look like:
If you want to have multiple locations on your wedding day, that’s AWESOME! Just be sure you plan extra time for all of your guests & vendors to get from location to location. The more transitions between locations, the more likely the day will get off-track time-wise (which is okay, weddings are infamous for running late!). Keep this in mind when figuring out with your photographer/videographer how many hours of coverage you’ll need. You may need a larger package when you add in driving time for everybody!
Here are a few things I make sure to ask my couples, so I can take them into consideration when creating their timeline:
If your wedding day will involve anything special or “out of the ordinary” — for example, a special ceremony activity, a specific reception activity or game, or a first look with a grandparent — make sure your photographer is aware! These details will all be taken into account when creating your timeline.
These are the times certain events will be at that are non-negotiable, such as your ceremony, when dinner is being served by your caterer, when your hairstylist/makeup artist is arriving, etc.
When I help my couples craft their timelines, I like to work back from the ceremony time (and it always depends on the questionnaire answers). Once I hit the beginning of the day, I then go from the ceremony through the reception and figure out those times! This will help us figure out the best arrival & departure times for me as the photographer, based on the package & hours of coverage purchased.
As a photographer, I’m always thinking about lighting and when the best time for certain photos are depending on the location! Make sure you’re considering this when nailing everything down! If we do couple photos mid-day I usually try to sneak my couples outside for a few minutes around sunset to get some golden hour goodness like the image below! <3
And that’s it! Those are my top 5 tips on how to craft your perfect wedding day timeline. Again, it’s the biggest factor in planning a super smooth wedding day and making sure the layout of the day highlights what’s most important to you & your partner!
I hope this post has helped you get a better understanding of all that goes into your timeline & how to make sure you feel great about yours!
And before you go, I’ve written out a few sample timelines below for you to take a look at! Good luck!!
Here are a few sample timelines to help give you an idea of what a real-life wedding day could look like! Your timeline will obviously vary based on sunset, ceremony time, etc. – so don’t pay too much attention to the exact times. I often add lots more details custom to each day, but these will give you a good idea :).
8 hours of wedding photography coverage | WITH a first look
8 hours of wedding photography coverage | WITHOUT a first look